Chat with Jason Sobel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's golf writer, Jason Sobel, will log on to take your questions on all the latest news from the British Open.
Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.
Send your questions now and join Sobel Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Jason Sobel (11:01 AM)
It's already rained (and shined) five different times today. I've eaten fish-and-chips. (Actually, soggy fish-and-chips.) And no one can agree on just what it takes to find success on this course. Yup, must be the British Open -- er, Open Championship, 'round these parts. I'm here at Turnberry, ready for your questions, so fire away...
I keep hearing Turnberry isn't much of a test, but I'm not on site to see for myself. What wins it? 7, 8 under?
Jason Sobel (11:03 AM)
Not much of a test? Don't know where you've heard that, but I beg to differ. At the Open, it's all about weather. If we get four days of sun and calm conditions, a score of something like 18-under will win, whether we're playing St. Andrews or Turnberry. If the wind blows and it rains sideways, expect even-par to be a good score. From what I hear (and have seen), we'll get a good dose of rain and wind this week, so don't expect too many super-low scores.
when is your rankings blog going to be posted? i have a open fantasy draft tomorrow and need some inside info!
Jason Sobel (11:03 AM)
Just finished the rankings (only top 50, not the whole field). They are now in the capable hands of my editor and will be posted first thing Wednesday morning.
Don (Dearborn, MI)
Why isn't there more buzz around Steve Stricker? He already has more wins and almost as many top 10s as his best season (2007). Top 10 in the Masters, Top 25 in the US Open.......where is the buzz???
Jason Sobel (11:05 AM)
When it comes to Stricker, consider me buzzed. This is a guy who couldn't close out a tournament earlier this year, but has now won at Colonial and JDC. When he gets hot, he often stays hot, so watch out for him this week.
Dain (Jamestown, NY)
Is you blog on vacation this week?
Jason Sobel (11:08 AM)
Unlike the Mon-Wed pre-tournament days at the U.S. Open, it didn't make sense to live blog either 1) before the majority of my readership was awake for the day, or 2) after the majority of the practice rounds had already been completed. The timing just isn't good. But the blog will be back for the four tourney rounds. I'll be live at (I believe) 7 a.m. ET (noon local) on Thursday, continuing through the end of Sunday's final round.
Anthony (Sutton, MA)
Jason...big follower here...how has D.D. looked in his practice round? Is a finish here similar to Bethpage realistic?
Jason Sobel (11:10 AM)
Haven't seen him out there, but I can tell you that he's currently practicing with "T.Wood." No they didn't leave off the last "s" for "savings"; that's actually an Aussie player named Timothy Wood. As for Duval, remember he was in contention entering the weekend last year before blowing up on Saturday. There's no reason to believe he can't contend now that he's playing better golf.
I like Henrik Stenson this week. He has contended in majors and has won some big events. What are your thoughts?
Jason Sobel (11:12 AM)
It really remains to be seen whether you can attack this course without a driver. Some of my fellow reporters spoke with Stenson earlier this week and he maintained that he'll only hit about four drivers on the 14 driving holes. If so, he could use the same strategy that allowed him to win at Sawgrass. But Padraig Harrington thinks players will need to do more than that. More drivers equals more wayward drives for Stenson.
Paul (Motor City)
I bought a carton of milk yesterday and a picture of Boo Weekly was on the back of it. What happened to him?
Jason Sobel (11:14 AM)
Don't drink it, because that may be old milk. I watched Boo for a long time on the practice range at both the Travelers and AT
If you had to bet your own hard earned money, you wouldn't bet on anyone but TW, right? I just wanted to get that out of the way before any "predictions" are made...
Jason Sobel (11:15 AM)
Wrong. If I thought TW was going to win every time, I'd predict him to win. My rankings aren't a matter of "spreading it around." It's really, truly what I believe will happen.
Barbara (Philadelphia, PA)
I read that Tiger said in his interview that he lets Stevie drive the car over there ... Do you have Harig drive for you ?!!!!
Jason Sobel (11:17 AM)
Are you insinuating that Harig is my caddie? Stevie is a professional race car driver; Harig drives like he plays golf -- slowly and methodically. So, no...I let him make hotel reservations for me and book my dinners and hand out directions, but he doesn't drive for me.
Will shorter hitters have a chance to win this year? Any non-bombers you could see walking away with the trophy.
Jason Sobel (11:18 AM)
I think shorter hitters always have a chance at the Open. Even though the course has been stretched to 7,204 yards, it's not going to play long. Accuracy will be more important than length.
What are your thoughts on Rory Mcilroy? He seems to have the game and grew up playing Open conditions.
Jason Sobel (11:20 AM)
Very, very good young player. But as the third-favorite in the field? I think that's a bit optimistic. This is a kid who owns just one career professional win and looked like he had a chicken bone in his throat while trying to bring it home. Tons of talent and I think he'll win multiple Open titles before it's all said and done, but not yet. Not this year.
Will we see a 3-peat?
Jason Sobel (11:23 AM)
If you ask Paddy Harrington, the answer is no. He started his news conference today by saying of his recent form, "I would say it's very sketchy, obviously. Not really showing much form in the last couple of weeks. Not really knowing what to expect." He's still going through swing changes and doesn't really like his own chances this week. In fact, the better three-peat option may be Martin Kaymer, who has won each of the last two Euro Tour events.
Dana ((Lake Charles, LA))
Doesn't Camilo Villegas' game fit Turnberry well? Does he get his first Major this week?
Jason Sobel (11:24 AM)
Like some of the world's other best players, Camilo's game seems to fit every venue. His problem isn't making birdies; it's avoiding the big numbers. If Villegas can be a little more patient and get out of trouble better, he can contend.
Noel (Durham, NC)
Shouldn't Jean Van De Velde have been given a sponsor exemption to play in the Open on the 10th anniversary of his epic meltdown? At the very least it would've made for a good story during the first or second round tv coverage.
Jason Sobel (11:25 AM)
No special exemptions here at the Open. He did go to local final qualifying, but did not advance.
Armaan (Milwaukee, WI)
I know some yardage and some bunkers have been added to make the course more difficult than in 1994...but is there any truth to the rumor that the rough will be much more severe than in past years?
Jason Sobel (11:26 AM)
Yes, that is true. The rough is longer and more imposing than in the past, placing more of a premium on accuracy.
How about some of the older guys competing? i.e. - Faldo (Sir I believe), Norman, Monty?
Jason Sobel (11:28 AM)
Yes, that's Sir Nick Faldo to you (and, believe it or not, on the leaderboards, too). Any one of them -- and you can certainly throw in 1977 champ Tom Watson -- would be a terrific sentimental story should he be in the mix on Sunday afternoon.
Craig (Kilmacolm, Scotland)
When you are over here in Scotland reporting on the Open do you get the opportunity to play some golf yourself, if so what courses have you played? More importantly which ones do you recommend?
Jason Sobel (11:30 AM)
I did play nearby Dundonald Links yesterday and really enjoyed it. Fun course that requires some creativity. Two years ago after the Open at Carnoustie, I played Prestwick and Western Gailes. That was one hell of a 36-hole day. Two very different yet very cool courses. If you're heading to Western Gailes, pack a few extra sleeves with you.
Eddie (Dublin, Ireland)
What are Geoff Ogilivy's chances this weekend?
Jason Sobel (11:34 AM)
I've always thought Ogilvy is a guy who can win an Open. He loves playing links golf and is talented enough to put together four solid rounds. I like his chances this week.
Jeramy (Flint, MI)
Any chance John Daly makes the cut?
Jason Sobel (11:35 AM)
Makes the cut? Sure, there's a chance for anyone/everyone to make the cut. I'm just not sure the timing is right for Daly, though, who has played well at times this year, but recently tweaked his back again.
why isnt anyone talking about hunter mahan? he is playing well of late.
Jason Sobel (11:37 AM)
Love this kind of question. Who, exactly, isn't talking about him? The last round he played in competition was a course-record-tying 62 at Congressional that nearly gave him a come-from-behind victory. Sounds pretty solid to me. And he loves links golf. Good pick this week.
why cant espn afford a cameraman for you? your video blogs are just tooo close! i get scared! =)
Jason Sobel (11:39 AM)
That's the whole idea of the video blog. Or so I've been told. It's not supposed to look "professional" -- should just be me talking into a camera for a minute or two about whatever I'm writing. But I'm open to any and all suggestions. Always a work in progress.
Who are your sleepers to win outside of the top five or ten guys?
Jason Sobel (11:39 AM)
I don't know if any of them can win, but keep on eye on some random Euro Tour regulars, like Markus Brier, Robert Rock and Damien McGrane.
Poults and Cink have been very Twitter-friendly. Any other guys on tour feeling like they should open one up?
Jason Sobel (11:41 AM)
Paul Casey has been doing a lot of tweeting. Stuart Appleby has updated his a few times today from the course. And Rory McIlroy will post something every once in a while. for the most part, though, the majority remains un-twittered. I'd love for that to change. It's a great way to learn more about players, from their own games to their favorite TV shows.
Hit the ball well today. Couldn't make a putt. Ctrl C. Ctrl V
Jason Sobel (11:42 AM)
Ha! That's kinda funny..
Chris (Vancouver, WA)
What does a 10 handicapper shoot at Turnberry?
Jason Sobel (11:44 AM)
Not to deflect the question, but it depends on what kind of 10-handicapper you are. Do you keep it straight and just not hit it very long? Might be able to keep it in the low-to-mid 90s. Or do you play Army golf (left-right-left-right-left) and try to bomb and gouge your way out of trouble? That could mean a triple-digit score around here.
Jesse (Colorado Springs)
I know this question is asked every major but being that he has an amazing record at the British. Why not Ernie holding the Claret Jug?
Jason Sobel (11:46 AM)
Until Els can prove that he can consistently knock down 5-10 foot putts, I don't see it happening. And he hasn't proven that since returning from knee surgery a few years ago. Still has the game's prettiest swing, but needs to be able to drain some putts.
Will the change from U-grooves to V-grooves affect the average golfer's clubs?
Jason Sobel (11:46 AM)
Not until the year 2024. That's a pretty decent grace period.
Ben (Newport, R.I)
My dark horse pick is Brandt Snedeker. He is playing well and strikes me as a potential great links player. Your take?
Jason Sobel (11:48 AM)
Two straight top-five for Snedeker. Spoke with him a few days ago and he loves this style of golf. Not so sure he's ready to win this tourney, but I could see a strong result out of him.
Brock (Knoxville, TN)
Any chance of the British Open doing a Men's/Women's Open back to back like the USGA decided to do in 2014?
Jason Sobel (11:50 AM)
Since there's potentially less stress on a links course than one used for the U.S. Open, it might actually be a better idea over here, but I've never heard that idea floated by anyone from the R
Can Sergio play 4 good rounds and finally win a major?
Jason Sobel (11:52 AM)
Absolutely. And this just may be the right course for him. He had a back-door top-10 at Bethpage. On a venue where ball-striking is important, he is among the top candidates. In fact, the oddsmakers have him as the second favorite after Tiger.
Aside from the obvious story lines that would be generated from a Norman, Monty, Faldo, Watson appearence on the leader board sunday, what would be your choice for story of the week.
Jason Sobel (11:53 AM)
There are so many, if you want to envision certain players walking up 18 with a two-stroke lead. From Harrington to Garcia to Els to McIlroy to Duval to even Woods, any of them would be a really good story. Maybe the best one -- and one which I think could at least come close -- is that of Darren Clarke. Talk about a sentimental winner.
Slowskis (HD Land)
Rumor has it the Open will not be broadcast in HD...Whats up with that?
Jason Sobel (11:54 AM)
No idea. Sorry.
Jon (Boca Raton)
Any truth to the rumor that when Stenson strips down to his skivies this time, it will be long johns due to the weather?
Jason Sobel (11:54 AM)
Rain-proof long johns. Gotta keep everything dry.
The best story always always is John Daly winning
Jason Sobel (11:55 AM)
Another good one. There are at least a dozen players who would be fantastic stories come Sunday afternoon.
Ben (Salt Lake City)
With Phil out, who will draw the largest crowds? Any European favorites that get large crowds or will it be Tiger, etc?
Jason Sobel (11:57 AM)
By far, the group with the largest crowds -- both inside and outside the ropes -- will be Tiger Woods, Ryo Ishikawa and Lee Westwood. Other than that, expect Colin Montgomerie to get plenty of fan support here in Scotland.
Jason Sobel (11:59 AM)
Thanks for all the questions today. I'm gonna go check out the hullabulloo between Monty and Sandy Lyle going on right now. Rankings out tomorrow. Live Blog starts Thursday. I have nothing else to promote, so until then, hit 'em straight ...